Will embracing robots help you embrace your future?

Emerging applications and dealing with information overload

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In addition to RPA, which focuses on simple, repeatable tasks, intelligent (cognitive) automation automates tasks such as speech recognition, natural language processing, and tasks that require judgment and perception.

One such application deals with the flood of the unstructured incoming data that family offices are barraged with daily, including correspondence and emails and their associated attachments. These applications can be trained to take this information, understand it based on content and context, and then process it accordingly. Responses might include filing, forwarding to a staff member for additional research, entering into a calendar or triggering an alert that informs management of a situation that requires their attention.

Similar benefits may be earned by family offices that subscribe to funds and invest in alternate investments and face a barrage of statements, covenants, Forms K-1 and the like, or those family offices charged with receiving and preprocessing invoices.

What should you do next?

RPA and cognitive automation are rapidly being deployed throughout the world of financial services. It is expected that family offices will soon follow suit and adopt robotics processes for their own purposes. This has the short-term potential to help family offices achieve new levels of efficiencies in their often diverse and highly customized processes, while supporting them in creating services for the long view. The emerging capabilities of AI and cognitive technology have enormous promise in helping families draw the rising generation into engagement with their legacy, but also in managing the uniquely long game of transferring a legacy that will endure for multiple generations.

  • Start small and grow your capabilities over time.
  • Consider establishing a pilot program that draws on the strength of an experienced partner. Professional services firms are acquiring experience with most of the technology providers in this space, and have the specialized skill set needed to make RPA processes work in tax, accounting, administration and other specialized workflows.
  • Involve your team. Employees often hear about the promise of robotics replacing white-collar workers, but the real-world experience has been that robotics allow workers to focus on more valuable tasks and employers to build higher-functioning teams.
  • Make RPA a business-led initiative, not an IT-led initiative. Bots can be configured within the teams that are close to the business processes and have the expertise required to make them work.